When I was really focused on my fitness goals, I put up pictures of my version of an “ideal body” to give me the visual I needed to continue on my fitness path. I also internalized motivational quotes and used a lot of focusing techniques to keep me driven to reach my goals. Though ripped abs and ever increasing weights are not the central focus in my life, I still have an awesome graphic of a strong woman doing squats as my computer’s desktop image. It comes complete with this statement: “A firm behind like mine comes from the old school leg exercises–deadlift, squat, and lunge.” (For the curious, I stumbled on the pic at Jen Grasso’s Renegade Fitness website here.) I keep this image up to remind me that I have reached my goals before, and to use that success to fuel the success in other areas of my life.
So far, this action plan is working. I am writing and learning more about the process and myself each and every day. However, there are times when I’m just plain tired. Tired of life, or being my own personal cheerleader, whatever. And, though I parallel my writing journey to my fitness journey a LOT, the one thing that doesn’t quite fit is the “pay off” that comes from doing something even when I don’t want to do it.
For example, when I don’t want to train for whatever reason, I could always coax myself to do something which inevitably snowballs into a really good training session. The pay off was, once I started moving I physically felt better (yay endorphins!). Plus, I got great feedback visually because week after week, the result of the constant training was a stronger, more svelte figure. Easy straightforward science.
On the other hand, writing isn’t quite so straightforward. Sure, I can go off of pure word/page counts. And, I do kinda feel like the god of my own universe when stuff starts working and flowing. But, those times that aren’t quite working…when consecutive writing sessions aren’t adding to the story at all despite growing word counts…I begin to feel like…what’s the point?
Why show up?
That’s the feeling that I started with today. Though I was on fire to write yesterday, a long day (which stretched into 5:30AM this morning) turned my writing mindset for today from “on fire” to “blah.”
Thankfully, a few of my darling NerdSquad members were on Twitter, and gave this little pep talk:
And of course, I reminded myself of what Margaret Atwood tweeted at me a few months ago:
On a usual day, I absolutely love the challenge of working through my WIP, either ripping it apart or adding scenes or both. But sometimes, there are days when I’m tempted more than usual to stop progressing. Days that I forget that dreaming up worlds and using words to paint a picture of them is the goal in itself. That I don’t need approval or permission to write; that even if I stop writing, I would invariably return to it (and curse the misspent time of my writing hiatus).
On those days, I’m so grateful to those who walk this path with me to remind me of why I write, and gain strength and encouragement from that.
“When you can’t run, you crawl. And when you can’t crawl, when you can’t do that…you find someone to carry you.”
The Message, Firefly
12 thoughts on “Why I Write”
This is such a wonderful post to remind us that when we have our moments of as I would call it…mental constipation, that there is still time that it will dissipate and let us open our minds to release new ideas.
Ah yes, for me I have to deal with the word vomit…eventually, something beautiful and magical will come out 😉
Just like anyone, there are days when I just don’t feel like writing. But I find that if I put on the right music, make myself some tea (or your beverage of choice), and start writing, that once I get past those first couple hundred words I get carried back into it again. Being “the god of my own universe,” creating something meaningful, something that will affect others, that’s why I write. And if all else fails and you just can’t write, I’d say either read a really good book or watch a really good movie. Whenever I see examples of powerful writing, it always makes me want to get back on the horse.
Never give up! 🙂
❤ Gina Blechman
Thanks Gina! Yes, it’s something that I will always go back to…I just hate dragging my feet…because once I get back into the writing (like I always do) I always have a moment where I think, man, if I only did this yesterday, I’d be 1000 more words along than I am now! I have to break myself out of the habit of “making up for lost time”…I’m sure that takes me to my burnout periods faster than if I just had a consistent, slow burn day after day. 🙂
You have such wonderful, supportive people around you! I’m glad your cheerleaders helped you get out of blahdom. I’m starting to understand those HARD days too and I’m sure there will be a lot more of them. Reaching out to other writers online has definitely helped. It’s true what they say–this is a journey it’s best not to make alone.
And…I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I don’t know this, but…I’m going to have to figure out what Firefly is, aren’t I? I’ve seen the references everywhere. Is it a movie, TV show, book or graphic novel? I haven’t figured it out. Though I do think it has to do with the movie Serenity (which I loved)?
Well, I can’t take credit for how awesome my nerdsquad is, I’m just grateful that they choose to roll with me ^_^ But yes, camaraderie and community is a wonderful thing on such a solitary journey. Reminds me of Stephen King, On Writing: “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”
Firefly is a beloved shortlived scifi series created by Joss Whedon. If you have a netflix account, I suggest you watch it that way (or buy the DVD set 😉 ) because you’ll want to watch all the episodes and this obviously goes without saying but YES. YOU. MUST. WATCH. IT.
Serenity is the movie that “finished” the story since Firefly was axed before all the loose ends were tied, but it was definitely an awesome, quirky, silly, witty show while it was on.
Yay for Annie’s superb cheerleading! Yay for accepting said cheerleading, for keeping on, and for quoting Firefly. Yay!
Love all the Yay’s!! *confetti*
I was right there in blahdom with you today, and like you, feel grateful for such awesome writer friends! Seriously—Annie’s pep talk, and all of us devoting that hour to uninterrupted work, totally made a HUGE difference in my motivation today. THANK Y’ALL for being so awesome! ❤
I had permission to think, that’s for sure! I could take my focus off the word count and think about what I need to do to make a better story, one baby step at a time.
You know, I was okay until you quoted that line from Firefly. *sobs into hankie* 😉 I don’t know how people do this without writing buddies.
Me neither! Thank you for being one of mine 😉
(Anything Firefly = *heart melt*)